Fashion blogs help the eco-savvy crank up their style quotient
People who would never ride in a Hummer, even if their legs were broken, and who would rather carry a block of ice home in their bare hands than accept a plastic bag at the grocery store still make covert forays into the racks of big clothing retailers. I am among them. Fashion is an irresistible baddie that somehow stays off the eco radar, even though it’s arguably the worst offender of them all.
Yes, I am sometimes seduced by cookie-cutter outfits in the windows of chains like Urban Outfitters. Style and appearance, and the consumption that goes with them, seem to matter more and more, even as sustainability and lower consumption seem to infuse everything else. Ironically, being unstylish but eco is a greater social crime than being stylish but un-eco.
It’s possible to be both—by wearing recycled or homemade items. But figuring out how to wear those types of items well is too time consuming for most mere mortals. And no one wants to leave the house looking like a thrift-store fashion victim.
Many early adopters are turning to the style photo blogs that are proliferating on the Internet. These bloggers post candid shots of people—either in the street or at parties, wearing stylish, original outfits.
“People who don’t want to look the same as everyone else, who want to distance themselves from the industrial fashion complex and who want to try to do something different with what they already have,” follow the blogs, says Thom Wong, who writes TheSundayBest, a men’s style blog based in Victoria. “Who has time to constantly think creatively about what they’re wearing? It’s not that they don’t want to – it takes a lot of time.”
“Used items make up well over half of my wardrobe,” says Amanda Wormald, a Vancouver designer and blogger (www.amandahugandkiss.com), “but they’re hard!” Sometimes clothes will sit in her closet because she doesn’t know what to do with them, “then I see someone on a blog wearing something similar in a way that looks really good, or I just have an idea.”
Last month, Wormald was inspired by a photo of a woman on a Seattle-based blog. “Oh she was amazing!” she says, her face lighting up. “She had this crazy, fuzzy jacket on, which I loved.” Wormald illustrates with enthusiastic hand sketches. “And she actually has the same purse as me, which freaks me out.”
The blogs can be hit-and-miss, so Wormald clicks through many different ones, often scrolling through each blogger’s list of links for new sites. One of her favourites is the TheSartorialist, a well known site by a New York photographer with “a super refined eye, who doesn’t just say, ‘This person looks good.’ He’ll say, ‘The handkerchief matches the socks and that pulls this look together.’ So it’s really helpful.”
There are dozens of such streeter sites. And almost as many party picture blogs, such as Vancouver’s LindsaysDiet and KathyIsYourFriend, based on the more famous ones like Cobrasnake and Last NightsParty, from New York and L.A. respectively.
Wormald rolls her eyes when she admits she’s been snapped. “I was actually pretty stoked. But there’s one where I look absolutely wretched.” But she doesn’t dress well in order to be camera-ready; it’s because she really enjoys dressing creatively.
It’s worth the effort to look good, says Wong. People sometimes tell him he’s obsessed with fashion, but he says it’s something else: style is the only thing that can be truly sustainable. “It’s one of the only things you can pass down. You’re not going to give a computer to your grandkids. Definitely not a car,” he says and laughs. “But you can give them a well-made leather bag; it’s reparable and passable.”
So even though some people visit the blogs for a quick style fix, a bit of inspiration about how to wear something in their closets from five years ago, or just to catch up on the party scene, Wong does it because for him its about a cultural shift to a world where beauty isn’t fleeting.